Our vision: Improving the place where we live


Today we wrap up our four-week series highlighting some of the compelling goals and key actions offered in the vision plan adopted by the Fayette Visioning Initiative Steering Committee in June.

The adoption of the vision statement and plan marks the end of phase two of the seven-month visioning process begun in December and reflects considerable public input and perspective.

Four interrelated focus areas — education, economy, community and place — lay the framework for the corresponding implementation recommendations that will support the plan. Each focus area addresses issues and actions steps that if carried forward by the community can create an unrivaled Fayette County. The plan also defines the consequences to our community should we not take action to invest in the county’s future.

Previously mentioned plan highlights showed how Fayette can raise our already premiere school system to be a world-class Center of Excellence for K-12 and lifelong learning. The plan reveals that economic growth and competitiveness can be elevated by providing local jobs that align with resident skills. It also indicates that Fayette County must be a community that welcomes people of all ages and diverse backgrounds and embrace our county’s changing demographics.

The final focus area to highlight is place — building a Fayette County that is an appealing place to live, interact and enjoy. The action items in this area center on quality of life, housing and development and transportation infrastructure.

The Competitive Assessment identified some of Fayette’s critical issues as an aging population and stagnant growth rates. In the area of place, the plan recognizes that Fayette County must support new residential development options that will attract young professionals and families and allow current older residents to age in place.

Mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly environments appeal to a broad population of all ages should be a goal. Encouraging and possibly incentivizing such development should be intentionally considered.

Fayette citizens indicated their desire for local facilities that support artistic experiences and arts programming. Performing a feasibility study for a multi-use event space, expansion of county events and festivals, and establishing a central non-profit entity to coordinate arts events and programming would elevate Fayette’s offerings in this area.

In addition, maximizing green space and creating a long-term plan for county-wide parks and recreation will support a physically healthy population that can enjoy the natural beauty of Fayette County.

Finally, transportation infrastructure and mobility options should be expanded. The high percentage of out-of-area commuters places great pressure on Fayette County highways and roads. The county should continue to prioritize transportation projects that will provide high level impact and relief for Fayette County residents. Evaluating and assessing needs and possibilities related to local transportation and commuting is critical to long-term planning.

This vision plan is rooted in the public input and feedback gathered throughout this process and the success of the plan requires the commitment and unity of the Fayette community regardless of our challenges and sometime differing opinions.

Plans for our future also recognize the distinct differences in our cities, towns and unincorporated county and seek to preserve and leverage them.

The plan is in place and now the real hard work begins! The future prosperity of Fayette County belongs to all of us and together we can accomplish great things.

We encourage Fayette citizens and stakeholders to attend our next public meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree to learn further details about the action items and goals set forth in this vision plan.

Committee members will present a plan overview in a large group session. Immediately following, small group breakout sessions will be held where citizens can meet directly with steering committee members to talk in detail about each focus area, corresponding action items, learn how to get engaged in the process and ask any questions about the process and future implementation plan.

The Fayette Visioning Initiative is a diverse group of Fayette County business and community leaders who have come together to lead the community through a process to create a five-year vision plan for Fayette County.

Further information about the visioning process, the complete vision plan document, the list of steering committee members, and other important process documentation can be found at www.FayetteVision.org.

Email info@FayetteVision.org to join the mailing list or request a visioning speaker for your group or organization.

[Bob Ross and Trey Ragsdale are co-chairs of the Fayette Visioning Initiative.]